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The district was developed in the 18th century and picked up in the early 19th century when the once walled city of Punda became overpopulated. Otrobanda was connected to Punda in 1888 via the Queen Emma Bridge (affectionately known as "The Swinging Old Lady") and in 1974 by the Queen Juliana Bridge. The main center of Willemstad is separated in two quarters: Punda and Otrobanda, which stands for 'city' and 'the other side'.
Kura Hulanda is one of the best restorations of Otrobanda. Many of the over 700 UNESCO listed buildings in Willemstad have been restored and or renovated (on the inside) to serve as homes, shops, offices and accommodations like Poppy Hostel Curacao.
The restored area now shelters Riffort Village, a shopping and entertainment center that offers panoramic views of Punda and the sea. The Brionplein (Brion Plaza) is the centerpiece of Otrobanda’s waterfront.
The Rif Fort is a 19th-century defense monument that was built to protect the island from the invasion of pirates and enemies. Its key location was centered in the heart of Curaçao. It lies at the entrance of the St. Anna Bay in the western Otrobanda neighborhood. Rif Fort is made of 1.5-meter thick coral walls that once stored over 56 cannons. Today, Rif Fort became a tourist attraction that features great local restaurants, live entertainment, trendy bars with Latin and Caribbean music and the rough waves that smash through the ends of the walls. The Fort was redeveloped by the Renaissance Curaçao Resort and Casino. Locals and tourists visit this site very frequent.
The Renaissance shopping mall is a new shopping center that stands right across Rif Fort. Its features tall red buildings and bright green plants and a place for tourists to shop at. The mall contains various luxury shops. It is only a short walking distance from the pontoon bridge and next to the mega pier where the large cruise ships dock.
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